Brookfield, county set to dig into recycling proposals

June 3, 2014

Waukesha County and a committee of members from county municipalities are set to begin looking over proposals from recycling vendors to serve the area beginning in 2015.

Initial discussions will begin Thursday, June 5, and interviews with potential suitors are set for Tuesday, June 10.

"We have just received the proposals but have not reviewed them yet," said City of Brookfield Director of Public Works Tom Grisa. "The county is going to recommend, based on this proposal process, which vendor provides the level of service that it thinks municipalities are seeking."

At the time that Waukesha County officials make a recommendation, independent municipalities, such as Brookfield, will have a choice to make.

"Ultimately, it will be up to each municipality to decide which vendor and level of service to pick," Grisa said.

Grisa noted that an important choice the city will have to make will be whether or not to continue a level of service that allows residents to have their recycling picked up from their driveways. However, there is the potential for the city to switch to curbside pick-up.

"Presumably (curbside pick-up) is cheaper, but we haven't seen the numbers yet," Grisa said.

Regardless of specifics into the aforementioned choice, Grisa is tentatively hopeful the changes will result in savings for all property owners in Brookfield.

"We sure hope it decreases, but we don't know for sure," he said. "I would expect it to be less, but there are so many factors that play into this, fuel being one of the major ones."

Grisa hopes Brookfield can band together with other neighboring communities, such as Elm Grove and New Berlin, to garner even more savings.

"We're hoping to get municipalities together," he said. "It doesn't make sense that some of these municipalities can't group together and make things more efficient."

A primary change likely to take place when new vendors come on board in 2015 is a switch from dual-stream recycling to single-stream. Waukesha County currently sorts paper separately from other recyclables, but officials have expressed hopes that the acceptance of unsorted materials will result in residents finding it easier and therefore being more willing to recycle.

While officials hope new programs can be online at the beginning of 2015, Grisa noted the process may take slightly longer.

"It might be delayed until March," he said. "It depends on a lot of things. It will take time if a municipality switches away from the blue bins and goes to carts of cans. It takes time to distribute those. It might take a couple of weeks or a month to roll out everything."

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